A consultation on the future of the Sheffield Supertram network has sparked fears about the service being terminated if not enough funding is secured to maintain it.
The South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) found that around £230m of investment is needed to keep the network running for at least another 30 years.
In 2014, a study found that after 20 years of continuous operation, parts of the current Supertram network and vehicles are ‘approaching the end of their working life’.
Until now, the tram’s operator Stagecoach has been covering maintenance costs but for a long-term plan monetary support from the Department for Transport funding will be required.
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Supetram’s current contract will run until 2024, ensuring at least another six years of service in Sheffield.
A spokesperson for Supertram said: We will continue to work closely with the Department for Transport and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive until then to deliver high quality tram services for the people of Sheffield. The decision around what happens beyond that date is a matter for the SYPTE.”
Dan Jarvis, the mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: “For more than 20 years the Supertram has been a fixture within Sheffield and the region and has been making more than 12 million passenger journeys a year.
“We are now working with South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive to establish what the future of the Supertram system might look like.
“We want to hear from those people who currently use the Supertram, and those who don’t, about what its future should be. I would encourage as many people as possible to have their say.”
Trams are a popular mode of travel, serving more than 12 million passengers every year, with people relying on it as an efficient way to get around the region.
The Supertram network plays a major role in connecting the city and serves key location such as the Interchange, Meadowhall, IKEA, Hillsborough and both universities.
Traveling by tram is also convenient as it allows passengers to escape part of the traffic on busy Sheffield streets. Each Supertram can accommodate about 250 people, which is around three times the capacity of a double-decker bus.
Travel South Yorkshire urges residents across Sheffield City Region to contribute to the discussion using its online form.
People can also complete a paper questionnaire from Sheffield, Meadowhall, Hillsborough, Arundel Gate, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley Travel South Yorkshire Interchanges and return it to a Customer Service Desk at a South Yorkshire Travel Interchange.
The consultation lasts from 24 September to 5 November 2018 and will shape the business case regarding the preservation of the Supertram in Sheffield.